Bhadrachalam: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s statement made on Friday in the State Assembly on the efforts to demerge five Gram Panchayats of the seven mandals merged with AP, has brought cheers to the locals. It may be recalled that after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh State, many villages of Chintoor, Kunavaram, VR Puram, Burgampadu, Kukunoor, Velairpadu and Bhadrachalam (except Bhadrachalam GP) mandals were transferred to AP as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Act, 2014, to facilitate the construction of Polavaram Project.
Since then, there has been opposition among the residents in the Bhadrachalam Agency Area against the merger of seven mandals of erstwhile Khammam district which they felt was made without a scientific approach and lacked logic in terms of geographical boundaries of the area. “The merger affected the development of Bhadrachalam temple town a lot as there is no space or scope for its expansion as the 20 villages of the mandal went to Andhra Pradesh State post the bifurcation leaving alone Bhadrachalam Gram Panchayat with just a radius of three kilometres”, lamented a senior Telangana activist, T Siddulu.
No space for dumping
Speaking to Telangana Today on Saturday, he said the Chief Minister’s statement was a welcome development and added that the Gram Panchayat officials are not able to find a space for garbage disposal and are dumping garbage near the river Godavari bund. In the past, garbage was used to be dumped at Yetapaka village which is now in East Godavari district.
In addition to that those who are travelling to Cherla, Parnasala from Bhadrachalam have to pass through the AP checkpoints twice as they have to traverse nearly 10 kilometres on AP roads and face troubles from personnel at the checkpoints, he said. A senior citizen of Bhadrachalam town, Paritala Venkateshwara Rao complained that the dumping of garbage near the Godavari is leading to severe health problems to the locals as the river water is being polluted with the wastage. ‘The Chief Minister’s statement is a happy development’ he added.
Temple town shrinks
Former MP Midiam Babu Rao noted that the merger made Bhadrachalam town a small island as three sides of the town merged with AP and one side facing the river Godavari. Bhadradri temple has over 100 acres of temple land at Purushothapatnam of Yetapaka mandal and it is causing logistic and administrative difficulties to protect and develop the land, he explained. He also said that if anyone wants to travel from Aswaraopet to Burgampad they have to cross through check posts in Kukunoor and Velairpadu or they have to take a detour via Dammapet by travelling an additional 15 kilometres.
The case of Rajupet close to Bhadrachalam is peculiar as half of the village is in Telangana and half in AP and a small road in the middle of the village divides it. “The residents here are in dire straits neither AP nor TS officials bother to ensure supply of drinking water or electricity to us”, Gaddam Swamy, a resident, complained. “We appeal to the Chief Minister of Telangana to move ahead with the demerger of Gundala, Pichikalapadu (Bhadrachalam Rural), Kannaigudem, Yetapaka and Purushothapatnam Gram Panchayats for the benefit of the locals and the development of Bhadrachalam” Raju said.